defect

noun
de·​fect | \ˈdē-ˌfekt, di-ˈ \

Definition of defect 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an imperfection that impairs worth or utility : shortcoming the grave defects in our foreign policy A defect prevented the DVD from playing properly.

b chemistry : an imperfection (such as a vacancy or an unlike atom) in a crystal lattice (see lattice sense 2)

2 : a lack of something necessary for completeness, adequacy, or perfection : deficiency a hearing defect

defect

verb
de·​fect | \di-ˈfekt \

Definition of defect (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to forsake one cause, party, or nation for another often because of a change in ideology a former KGB agent who defected to America

2 : to leave one situation (such as a job) often to go over to a rival the reporter defected to another network

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from defect

Verb

defector \ -​ˈfek-​tər \ noun

Examples of defect in a Sentence

Noun

They examine their products for defects. She was born with a heart defect. Vanity and pride were his two worst character defects.

Verb

The Russian scholar defected in 1979. She defected from the conservative party. He defected to the West before the war began. The reporter defected to another TV network.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Those are defects that occur early in pregnancy when the neural tube that forms the spine and brain fails to close properly. Jonel Aleccia, The Seattle Times, "FDA allows food makers to fortify corn masa to halt birth defects, but few do," 16 Oct. 2018 Because the illness is so rare its exact cause is unknown, but experts believe factors ranging from genetic defects to traumatic injury could trigger it. Fox News, "Sisters diagnosed with rare disease weeks apart recovering from brain surgeries," 28 Sep. 2018 Even if the public were to stage a mass exodus from social media, internet companies would, if left to their own devices, construct new communication systems and media empires with similar defects. Nicholas Carr, chicagotribune.com, "Is Facebook the problem with Facebook, or is it us?," 10 July 2018 The hero, an American secret agent named Condorman, is tasked with helping a Soviet spy (Barbara Carrera) defect to the West. Charles Stockdale And John Harrington, USA TODAY, "The 24 most forgettable superheroes in movies," 5 July 2018 That means fixing the genetic defect, which can come in several variations, inside living patients. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Vertex Pharmaceuticals opens expanded San Diego research center with focus on cystic fibrosis," 18 June 2018 That meant it might be put to work on next-generation medicines that could do things like erase genetic defects and supercharge the body’s natural defenses against cancer. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The WIRED Guide to Crispr," 27 Apr. 2018 Even if your problem did not result from a manufacturing defect, the company may want to settle your claim rather than risk your ill will. Kevin Brasler, Philly.com, "Have a consumer problem? How to complain and get results," 1 July 2018 Osteogenesis imperfecta, which makes for brittle bones due to a genetic defect involving collagen, has prompted several surgeries that involve inserting stainless steel rods inside the canals of bones in Cabacungan’s arms and legs. Caitlin Mullen, chicagotribune.com, "'He brings a smile to everyone he meets': Basketball court at Shriners Hospital named in honor of Oak Parker," 22 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To keep customers from defecting—and perhaps woo some from rivals—Hufnagel is considering a loyalty points scheme similar to those offered by airlines. Bloomberg.com, "Companies Seek Ways to Hold On to Customer Data Under New EU Privacy Law," 27 Mar. 2018 To keep customers from defecting to rivals, some are attaching other travel services to their own in order to differentiate themselves. The Economist, "European state rail firms face scrappy new competitors," 28 June 2018 The Israeli government declined to comment on the events outlined in the memoir by Mr. Thae, who defected to South Korea in 2016. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "North Korean Ex-Diplomat Says Blackmail Is Part of Regime’s Playbook," 8 July 2018 On a conference call with investors and Wall Street analysts late Wednesday, Niccol laid out his plan to win back customers who defected in the last two years in the wake of food safety problems as well as boredom with the brand. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Chipotle Is Planning to Close Up to 65 Stores—But It Will Add a Happy Hour Menu," 28 June 2018 According to Ri Myung, a former top North Korean official who has defected to the South and uses an alias, all of North Korea’s latest maneuvers have been conducted by influential Workers Party organ the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD). Charlie Campbell / Beijing, Time, "All Signs Suggest North Korea's Kim Jong Un Really Wants to Make a Deal," 8 June 2018 Mahathir, Malaysia’s longest-serving premier, who defected to the opposition to take on Najib, will return to power at the age of 92. Bloomberg.com, "The Surprise Election Result That Marks a Historic Power Shift," 9 May 2018 He was picked in the fourth round, 74th overall, in 1989, and the Wings went to great lengths to help him defect, scurrying him away in 1990 when his CSKA Moscow team was in Portland, Ore., for a match before the Goodwill Games. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Should Detroit Red Wings retire Sergei Fedorov's No. 91? It's time.," 12 July 2018 This suggests that the 1 million voters who left the CDU/CSU and moved into the AfD’s camp between the federal elections of 2013 and 2017 largely defected because of Merkel’s ability to get her way on the refugee issue. Philipp Adorf, Washington Post, "Angela Merkel’s governing alliance is increasingly frayed. Here’s why.," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of defect

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for defect

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Latin dēfectus "failure, absence, lack, weakness," from dēficere "to be lacking, run short, weaken, fail" + -tus, suffix of action nouns — more at deficient

Verb

borrowed from Latin dēfectus, past participle of dēficere "to be lacking, fail, become disaffected, go over (to the side of an opponent)" — more at deficient

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about defect

Statistics for defect

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for defect

The first known use of defect was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for defect

defect

noun

English Language Learners Definition of defect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a physical problem that causes something to be less valuable, effective, healthy, etc.

: something that causes weakness or failure

defect

verb

English Language Learners Definition of defect (Entry 2 of 2)

: to leave a country, political party, organization, etc., and go to a different one that is a competitor or an enemy

defect

noun
de·​fect | \ˈdē-ˌfekt, di-ˈfekt\

Kids Definition of defect

1 : something that makes a thing imperfect : flaw A slight defect lowered the diamond's value.

2 : a lack of something needed for perfection Doctors can correct the hearing defect.

defect

noun
de·​fect | \ˈdē-ˌfekt, di-ˈ \

Medical Definition of defect 

: a lack or deficiency of something necessary for adequacy in form or function a hearing defect

Keep scrolling for more

defect

noun
de·​fect | \ˈdē-ˌfekt, di-ˈfekt \

Legal Definition of defect 

: something or a lack of something that results in incompleteness, inadequacy, or imperfection: as

a : a flaw in something (as a product) especially that creates an unreasonable risk of harm in its normal use — see also latent defect

b : an error or omission in a court document (as an indictment or pleading)

c : some imperfection in the chain of title to property that makes the title unmarketable

Other Words from defect

defective \ di-​ˈfek-​tiv \ adjective
defectively adverb
defectiveness noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on defect

What made you want to look up defect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!